Harvard Development Expert: Agricultural Innovation Offers Path to Overcome Hunger

The world can only meet its future food needs through innovation, including the use of agricultural biotechnology, Belfer Center development specialist Calestous Juma said in an address to graduates of McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Since their commercial debut in the mid-1990s, genetically designed crops have added about $100 billion to world crop output, avoided massive pesticide use and greenhouse gas emissions, spared vast tracts of land and fed millions of additional people worldwide, Juma said during the graduation ceremony where he received an honorary doctorate. He asked the graduates to embrace innovative sciences that alone will make it possible to feed the billions who will swell world population in decades ahead, especially in developing countries.


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A Growing Lifeline: Mobile Technologies in Agricultural Development

Smallholder farmers in the developing world face considerable challenges that keep many of them locked in poverty.  These challenges stem from a lack of access to market information, technical knowledge, inputs, financing and accessible markets where they can sell their products. In a recent survey of 4,000 farmers in Tanzania, more than three-quarters said access to markets was an obstacle to growth. Nearly 60 percent cited access to finance as a challenge.

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The $450 Billion Opportunity: Catalyzing Smallholder Agricultural Finance

The world’s 450 million smallholder farmers represent a large – and largely unmet – opportunity for agricultural financing. As population growth and rising incomes create unprecedented demand for food, multinational companies increasingly rely on smallholders to secure their supply of agricultural commodities. As a result, smallholders present a compelling opportunity for buyers, lenders, and other actors in the agricultural value chain. However, smallholder production is often characterized by low yields, low quality, poor linkages, and little access to finance.

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Access to Improved Water Sources and Rural Productivity: Analytical Framework and Cross-country Evidence

Abstract:  In this study we address the issue of access to drinking water in rural areas related to agricultural productivity performance. Considering an agricultural household model as our basic conceptual framework, we analyze the theoretical aspects of increasing the access rate to drinking water on agricultural productivity. Read more

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